How Well Do You Know English Slang?
"benevolent goblin supposed to haunt old farmhouses in Scotland," 1510s, diminutive of brown "a wee brown man" (see brown (adj.)). The name for the junior branch of the Girl Guides or Girl Scouts is 1916, in reference to uniform color. Brownie point (1963) is sometimes associated with Brownie in the Scouting sense but is perhaps rather from brown-nose.
Old English brun "dark, dusky," developing a definite color sense only 13c., from Proto-Germanic *brunaz (cf. Old Norse brunn, Danish brun, Old Frisian and Old High German brun, Dutch bruin, German braun), from PIE *bher- (3) "shining, brown" (cf. Lithuanian beras "brown"), related to *bheros "dark animal" (cf. beaver, bear (n.), and Greek phrynos "toad," literally "the brown animal").
The Old English word also had a sense of "brightness, shining," preserved only in burnish. The Germanic word was adopted into Romanic (e.g. Middle Latin brunus, Italian and Spanish bruno, French brun). Brown Bess, slang name for old British Army flintlock musket, first recorded 1785.
c.1300, "to become brown," from brown (adj.). From 1560s as "to make brown." Related: Browned; browning.
"brown color," c.1600, from brown (adj.).
Brown (broun), Michael. Born 1941.
American geneticist. He shared a 1985 Nobel Prize for discoveries related to cholesterol metabolism.
[WWII armed forces; fr the color of feces]
A traffic-control and parking-violation officer
[1980s+; fr the color of the uniform]
Opposed to environmental preservation and restoration •The opposite of green: The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers is judged brown, rather than green, on the issue of timetables for climate control (1990s+)verb
also brown-hole To do anal intercourse; bugger, bunghole (1930s+)
in English and Scottish folklore, a small, industrious fairy or hobgoblin believed to inhabit houses and barns. Rarely seen, he was often heard at night, cleaning and doing housework; he also sometimes mischievously disarranged rooms. He would ride for the midwife, and in Cornwall he caused swarming bees to settle quickly. Cream or bread and milk might be left for him, but other gifts offended him. If one made him a suit of clothes, he would put it on and then vanish, never to return
any of a group of delicate butterflies in the family Nymphalidae (order Lepidoptera) that are abundant during summer months in the woods and grasslands of the United States and Europe. The adults are dull brown or grey, while the larvae possess small, forked tail-like appendages on their abdomens. Adult butterflies have brown wings with a span of 5 to 6 cm (2 to 2.4 inches) and conspicuous circular markings on them. These false "eyes" on the wings may serve to frighten or distract predatory birds.